Depending on the individual, there can be a number of different answers to this question. For some owners looking to hire a PM for the first time, there are many things to consider when making this important decision. Sometimes investors purchase a rental property and realize very quickly that being a landlord can have its challenges and is not for them.
Having been both a rental property owner and a property manager for 17 years, I would like offer some suggestions for first time real estate investors regarding what qualities I believe are important to look for in a PM: Have a face-to-face meet outside your property. Have a list of questions prepared addressing the items that are important to you. In my experience, the face-to-face is crucial as it will give you a sense of what type of person the PM is and what type of working relationship you will have with them going forward.
There is no doubt that pricing is a big consideration. However, it is important to note that most PM companies have a very similar pricing structure. Don't be fooled by companies that offer a lower percentage of gross rent fee than the industry average. Once you sign a contract, they will find ways to make up for it by adding supervision and administration fees for service calls, etc.
Look for a top notch screening process: this is essential to securing quality tenants. In my opinion, this is the most important thing, as a profitable investment property is dependent on continuous successful tenancies.
Communication is key. For me, it is imperative that there is strong communication between the property owner and the PM in addition to the PM and the tenant. Tenants really appreciate PM's who respond quickly to any issues that may come up. I believe that having a good relationship with your tenants has huge benefits in the long run.
Efficient accounting practices: A good PM should have a seamless set up for owners and tenants with respect to transferring funds and reporting.
A Good knowledge of the Residential Tenancies Act. This is a detailed document and an experienced and professional PM should know and understand the content well, including the associated forms and rules related to making submissions to both the Tribunal and tenants.
I hope this is helpful and good luck with your property!